Protecting Sean McGregor's widow
Natalie had faced trouble before. As a highly trained agent of the British Secret Intelligence Service, she'd known heartache and passion and fear. But never before had she been pushed into a corner with no way out. Until now... The man the Lazlo Group sent to help her, to protect her, was none other than her husband, Sean McGregor. After two years of mourning a man who had never died, would she have the time to forgive him--or would the brutal actions of a madman leave her widowed, once again?
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October 01, 2007
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Excerpt from Bulletproof Marriage by Karen Whiddon
If reinforcements didn't show up soon, Natalie Major thought grimly, she might as well paint a target on her chest and leap into the open. The unknown assassin-- or assassins--were that close. The decaying concrete warehouse she'd holed up in only had two ways out--and one of them had been blown to rubble.
She needed help. Corbett Lazlo, her father's oldest friend and owner of one of the top private investigative agencies in the world, had promised to send someone. She'd asked for the best.
Now she wished she'd asked for the most prompt. Gallows humor. She'd never been particularly good at it before, though she'd grown more proficient.
Her husband wouldn't even recognize her now if he were still alive. Once, he'd been Lazlo's top agent. She'd married a Lazlo Group spook, just like her own father had been. Retired now, and in a wheelchair, her father lived in relative seclusion. Her beloved husband, Sean, hadn't been so lucky. He'd been killed two years ago this week. Lazlo's group seemed to be the ruin of everyone she loved, so in honor of her dead husband and disabled father, and in defiance of the Lazlo legacy she could easily have embraced, she'd worked her way to the top of SIS, the British Secret Intelligence Service. There was no job too difficult, no task too dangerous for Sean McGregor's widow.
She scouted the area. Trapped inside the abandoned warehouse, she was fast running out of options. The concrete walls made a good shield against bullets, but she needed to see her enemies. Right now, she could only hear them. And it was hard to fight when you had no idea who the enemy might be. Or where they were hiding.
Plus, cement was cold and hard and reminded her too damn much of a tomb.
The shooters fired off another round of shots. AK-47s. Random bullets ricocheted crazily and dangerously off the cement walls and floors. She couldn't even dodge them, having no idea where they'd go.
She'd found the abandoned warehouse two days ago. A concrete bunker in a run-down area of Glasgow had seemed relatively safe. Not wanting to endanger others by staying at a B and B or hotel, she'd used the concrete warehouse as her base, returning to sleep and regroup while attempting to gather information on whoever had sold out her team. Since Millaflora--a low-down, no-good mole operating as a double agent inside the SIS--had already been caught, she had no idea who she was looking for.
Officially, she was on administrative leave, supposedly holed up, incognito in an unknown luxury hotel on the French Riviera. No one in her office knew she'd come to Glasgow, not even her supervisor.
And though she'd tried to take extraordinary precautions similar to those she used when deep under-cover, her enemy had found her.
Whoever "they" were.
She supposed the whys and the hows didn't matter. Not now. All that mattered was that if help didn't arrive soon, she was dead.
Her ammo nearly gone, no backup, and no alternative plan--pretty shoddy situation for an undercover agent who'd recently been promoted to team leader.
It had to have something to do with the code. Natalie was sure of it. She'd been so close to cracking it. She and her team.
Now they all were dead and she was on the run.
And she had only herself to rely on. In seven years of service, she'd never had a single casualty. Until now. Now she'd lost her entire team. They'd been eliminated, killed in a way that left no doubt she was next. All the codes they'd been working on had disappeared, at least as far as anyone knew. She'd told no one that she'd made her own private copy.
Not knowing who was on her side, she hadn't dared to contact SIS. She'd called her father, knowing he'd contact Corbett, knowing Lazlo would help.
"Come on, reinforcements," she muttered. Her father'd told her Corbett had promised to send help. The head of the Lazlo Group never went back on his word.
A movement across the alley caught her attention. Finally! Someone had arrived to help her out of this hellhole.
She took another look and blinked, wondering if the stress had finally claimed her mind.
Out of the mist and smoke, a dead man strode toward her, keeping close to the wall, staying in the shadows, but coming. For her.
Natalie began to shake.
Shots rang out. Crouching, the man began to run. More shots. So far, he hadn't been hit. He'd always been lucky that way.
At least, until the day he'd died.
Dead. He was dead and buried.
Rocking back onto her heels, she rubbed her eyes and took another look.
She hadn't been wrong. The man she'd loved more than any other, her soul mate, her husband, the man she'd mourned, the man she'd never thought to see again, kept moving toward her.
Frozen, she watched as he continued, his low crouch purposeful and unafraid. Or maybe he didn't care. After all, a man couldn't die twice, right?
Her heart drummed in her ears. Sean. Her husband, Sean. This couldn't be real, couldn't be happening.
She wasn't the type to faint--not anymore. Too many hard lessons learned. Instead, she'd taught herself to push back, to fight.
But how did one battle a ghost?